The secret ingredient to the best beer and food is a little bit of TLC

Having worked as a chef in his native Venezuela before coming to Ireland, McGargles shift brewer Daniel Cesari discusses the similarities between the professions and some of his favourite foods to enjoy with craft beer.

I worked in many different kitchens over the four years I studied to become a chef, and during that time I learned how to brew beer and make wine. I quickly realised that I had a passion for brewing and, after honing my skills for a while, I started my own brewery in Venezuela.

One of the main reasons I came here is because when you think of beer, you think of countries like Ireland, Belgium or Germany. After arriving, I joined the Home Brewers Club and, last year, I won two bronze medals at the National Championships. A friend then put me in touch with our head brewer, Alex, and I began working at McGargles.

Just like with cooking, the possibilities in brewing are only limited by your imagination! There is an unending amount of ingredient combinations to be explored. There are countless malts that can be mashed at different temperatures to produce all manner of flavour profiles. The same can be said for yeast; the temperatures during fermentation can alter the beer’s overall profile.

Then, of course, you can add fruit or coffee beans – it’s just a matter of being creative and open-minded. That’s the beauty of working at McGargles; everyone’s opinion matters and there is always room for experimentation in our process.

When combining craft beer with a meal, I found that you should select the beer first and prepare the meal based on its properties. For instance, if you are making large hamburgers with other fatty foods, an IPA is ideal. The hops will cleanse your pallet and the high alcohol content speeds up digestion.

On the other hand, with Red Ale, fish makes for a suitable main course. Though, in reality, Red Ale is best complemented by the sweetness of desserts. It all depends what kind of evening you are hoping to have, but all the best food and beer has to be made with love and passion.